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I [HEART] The Splendid Table and Lynne Rossetto Kasper

I just did a search on this board to see what's been said about Lynne's show on NPR, and since I didn't see anything recent I thought I'd say a few words. I really enjoy Lynne and I think the content of her show is well thought out and well presented. For me, one of the joys of driving alone is listening to Splendid Table podcasts I've downloaded. It's like traveling with a good friend who shares my enthusiasm for all things food-related. She comes across as VERY knowledgeable, personable and even approachable -- someone I could easily envision as a friend -- and even if that's just her on-air personality, I enjoy her and I learn something new from almost every show. Among my favorite segments are Jane and Michael Stern and callers' questions. And if there's one feature I wish would go away forever it's where a caller names a bunch of ingredients in their fridge, Lynne concocts a recipe using them and a guest celebrity chef judges Lynne's creative effort. IMHO that's too much like Chopped and really has no redeeming value. So -- kudos to Lynne and The Splendid Table.

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  1. It is one of my favorite podcasts too. I actually think of flights in terms of how many ST episodes I can listen to: Detroit, 1.5 if I start right when we hit 10K feet. San Antonio, 3. LA, 5-7 depending on headwinds.

    1. Lynne is a perfectly lovely person.

      1. I really enjoy the show a lot, even the mystery fridge dish -- I like "hearing" her gears meshing on what she's going to make and second-guessing her myself.

        Her books are terrific. I cook from "Italian Country Table" fairly often.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jmckee

          Before my cookbook collection grew unmanageable, Kasper's "The Splendid Table" was my go-to source for all things Italian.

        2. I listen regularly, and like her show pretty well. She does, however, have a tendency to answer some questions off the top of her head incorrectly. Just last week she went into a big thing about velveting chicken that was entirely unlike any definition of velveting that I have ever heard.

          Her answers about botanical/gardening questions are frequently inaccurate as well.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sparrowgrass

            You hit the nail on the head. She is a terrific radio personality and talks about food with the expressiveness of an opera singer. She seems perfectly lovely.

            That said, she frequently passes along incorrect information on any topic that goes beyond Italian cuisine or tomatoes. The episode where she told listeners that the secret to a silky congee is to add pureed meat (which she misidentified as velveted chicken) was so wildly off-base, not just on the topic of Asian cuisine, but also with respect to what happens when you put protein in hot water!

            I've also noticed that they tend to splice old calls into new episodes of "The Splendid Table," but they've never bothered to correct her inaccuracies. There's really no reason to recycle misleading information, particularly when calls are pre-screened and the show has time to research the actual answers to callers' questions.

            1. re: JungMann

              I haven't noticed splicing in of old calls. But they do play repeats. I don't recall whether this is noted on the air or not, but it is obvious from the web site. Usually repeats are from a year or two earlier (same time of the year).

              Did you submit feedback on the 'congee' error?

              1. re: paulj

                I listen to podcasts in the order they are pushed to my phone. Now that I've checked the website, I see that I've been listening to some rebroadcasts, so I guess there is no splicing.

                I don't generally submit feedback to radio shows. That's advanced level NPR-listening. I try to max out at wearing tortoise shell glasses and shopping farmers markets with a WNYC tote bag.

          2. I think the show's content is frequently interesting. I have a lot of problems with the production, however. Her phony laughter is really annoying at times. The pretend "spontaneous" answers to phone callers questions is really disingenuous and the musical lead-ins to the call-in segments are ridiculously innapropriate for a food show. Maybe they'd work on Love Line, but I even doubt that. So 1980's!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Bob Brooks

              There's nothing secret about how the call-in segment works. Here's a description from 2008
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4859...

              Lynne has also talked out (in some interview or online segment). The show is produced, at the latest, on Thursdays.

              CarTalk and Wait Wait have similar 'the producers will call you back' procedures.

              Years ago I'd hear announcers say 'This show is a repeat. Please do not call the list phone number ...'. Now most listeners understand that shows are recorded at one time, and played at another (or multiple times). This becomes all the more obvious when listening via pod-casts.

              1. re: Bob Brooks

                Hmm. And you can tell over the radio whether anyone is truly laughing or whether it's "phony"?

                And the music is "ridiculously inappropriate for a food show"? How so?

                1. re: jmckee

                  Well, here's a hint on how to detect a phony laugh. You can do this even with your eyes closed: Nothing remotely funny or, even mildly amusing, precedes it.

                  As for the music, it's usually mawkishly romantic. Something with a bit more energy would be much better suited. The producers could take a lesson from Car Talk.

                  1. re: Bob Brooks

                    Humor is in the eye of the beholder no? What I think is hilarious may not even cause you to smile.

                2. re: Bob Brooks

                  ohhh, I love the various versions of "Call Me" they broadcast to lead in to the "Callers" segment. It's so catchy, and fun and retro. Where else do you hear a song like that? It's their signature!!!!

                  I also love her quick little intros that include a recipe, just based on whatever she's been cooking recently.

                3. I also really enjoy the show, particularly the Sterns.

                  1. I LOVE her show. The Sterns, the call-ins, everything. I've read and own several of her books. Make her "Supper Tart" (using grapes and greens) it is a favorite in our family.

                    And last week was Michael Pollan.

                    **I could do w/out mystery fridge. I'm betting that has been foisted on her.

                    1. It amuses me that her middle name is so close to "risotto".

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: singlemalt

                        It's not her "middle name." It's the surname she was born with. She's Italian-American.

                      2. Looks like podcasts are now costing $$$$$ - or have I not found right download site - ?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: jounipesonen

                          I don't pay a penny and they get downloaded automatically every week. Are you trying to download them to a PC or to a mobile device?

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            The play bar for each episode has a download feature. But if the browser window is narrow enough (e.g. tablet in vertical orientation) that feature is missing.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              PC - there have been a few tips - have to try those - tks

                          2. <She comes across as VERY knowledgeable, personable and even approachable -- someone I could easily envision as a friend -- and even if that's just her on-air personality, I enjoy her and I learn something new from almost every show.>

                            That's the real Lynne! I've been blessed to call her friend for many years -- long before she became famous and had a radio show. In fact, we were together on that long ago evening when she won the Trifecta of book awards for her first book, "The Splendid Table."

                            If you haven't cooked from that book, you are missing a delicious experience. and even if you only read it, you will be transported to Emilia-Romagna just as surely as if you took a trip.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChefJune

                              "The Splendid Table" -- the book, not the radio program -- was my first introduction to Lynn. I know I've owned the book for at least 20 years because I have notes in the margins dating back to 1993. Among the things I love about the book are the anecdotal information, the clarity of the recipes and the delicious results. EVERY recipe I've tried from that book has been wonderful. I can't say that about many other cookbooks I own and have cooked from extensively.

                              Next time you see her, tell her she's got a BIG fan in southeastern PA.